Earlier this month, a social sharing app called Whisper raised $21M from Sequoia and existing investor Lightspeed Ventures. The premise is simple and – apparently – unbelievably addictive: Users upload a photo overlaid with a secret, which in my somewhat limited experience range from “I have a crush on so and so but I’ll never tell” to others that were far more embarrassing, morbid, or at times unbelievably personal. Members of the community are able to comment, either publicly or privately, or just browse to their voyeuristic little heart’s content. No revenue model, just a massive, highly-engaged user base (2.5 billion downloads and a 90% user retention rate). And $21 million from Sequoia. Anonymity has become the new like button; the answer to the overshare isn’t restraint, it’s sharing nothing at all.
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“The team at Mesa works extremely hard to connect me with the right decision makers – they’ve added a ton of value for us at Bre.ad.”
Co-founder & CEO, Bre.ad
“MESA worked hard to help Movable Ink from the early days of the company. The team was always out front evangelizing the company and helping us connect with potential customers. We’re grateful for their continued help as we drive the business to greater heights.”
Co-founder & CEO, Movable Ink
“MESA has been amazing – from day one they’ve been incredibly supportive, helped us develop and improve our business, and connected us with incredibly valuable clients. I can’t say enough good things about them.”
Co-founder & CEO, Triple Lift
“MESA has been an invaluable resource for NewsCred. From sales introductions to fortune 500 companies, to referrals to top NYC talent to help us build a world class team, they’ve consistently delivered and impressed us all.”
Co-founder & CEO, NewsCred
MESA+ is an early stage venture fund focused on e-commerce, advertising technology and digital content. We co-invest between $50,000 and $250,000 in Seed and Series A rounds alongside established early stage venture firms (we never lead a financing). We concentrate on the New York digital media market but are able to invest in companies headquartered in other cities across the country and around the world.
We support talented entrepreneurs building big businesses. To do that, we invest social capital that we believe is as valuable as our investment capital. This comes from tapping into our team’s global network of media, entertainment and technology relationships to provide investor introductions, executive team hiring, business development, client & advertiser introductions, and marketing support. Our goal is to help our portfolio companies whenever and wherever we can.
Mark Patricof, Partner
Mark is a Managing Partner at MESA. Prior to MESA, he was the Co-founder and CEO of <kpe>, a renowned provider of digital solutions for media and entertainment companies. <kpe> guided clients including CBS, Sony and Viacom on the development of their earliest digital initiatives. In partnership with Grey Advertising, the Endeavor Agency (now WME) and Wasserstein Perella, <kpe> also managed an early stage venture fund that invested in over 20 digital media companies.
Mark began his career at Creative Artists Agency and was a former Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award finalist.
He is currently a member of the Board of Directors of Rockwell Group, New York Cruise Lines, and serves as Chairman of the Board of New Heights.
Mark graduated with a B.A. from Emory University.
Jacob Brody, Partner
Jacob spends 100% of his time helping early stage companies in every way, shape and form. He is a mentor to numerous startups, advising them on financing, marketing, PR, product and corporate strategy. He is also a mentor at Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator and is the Co-founder of Standard Start, a non-profit providing standardized resources to venture-backed startups. Jacob previously worked as a staff writer / blogger for VentureBeat.
Jacob graduated with a B.A. from Hunter College.
Andrew Montgomery, Partner
Andrew is a Vice President at MESA, where he has worked on financing and M&A transactions for clients including Blue Man Group, Interpublic Group, Reviewed.com, MetroLeap Media, Fantasy Sports Ventures. Before joining MESA, Andrew was an Analyst in the Media & Communications Group at Merrill Lynch, where he covered a wide variety of sectors.
Andrew is also the Co-Founder of the New York Code & Design Academy and currently serves on the board of directors of Nonprofit Management Systems.
Andrew graduated with a B.A. from Georgetown University.
Taher Khorakiwala, Partner
Taher is leading the MESA+ initiative in India. He has been an Angel investor in India and the US, and actively works with his companies to help them grow. He is the founder and CEO of MeemAin Capital Advisors, an investment advisory firm that works with family offices to build and manage long term diversified portfolios with an ethical focus. Prior to his founding MeemAin, Taher was VP of Strategic Services at Realization Technologies, a leading provider of execution management solutions. He led the sales and implementation of the High Tech, IT, Engineering practices’ for Realization.
Taher began his career at Thru-Put Technologies, a leading Supply Chain company based in San Jose and subsequently launched India’s first chain of convenience stores in partnership with Indian Oil corp and Hindustan Petroleum.
He is on the board of DocSuggest and EcoSense Sustainable Solutions and divides his time between his birthplace – Mumbai and soul place – San Francisco.
Taher graduated with an MBA from The Anderson School at UCLA and has a BS in Industrial Engineering from the University of Wisconsin – Madison
Merrill Greulich, EA
Merrill is an Executive Assistant at MESA, where she supports the MESA+ team and makes sure everything runs smoothly. Prior to MESA, Merrill worked at Pearson Partners.
Merrill graduated with a B.A. from University of Richmond.
MESA is a specialized investment bank focused exclusively on media and entertainment. The Firm has over 25 employees and offices in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco. A leading media and entertainment investment bank, MESA has completed 55 transactions since 2004 and has deep expertise in digital media financing and M&A transactions.
MESA+ leverages its unique relationship with the MESA investment banking practice to provide additional support to its portfolio investments bringing tremendous added value for our fund and partners. Learn more about MESA’s investment banking practice at www.mesaglobal.com
Jon Miller is the co-founder of Fuel Media Capital.
He was the Chief Digital Officer, and Chairman and CEO, Digital Media Group for News Corporation, a role in which he drove the Company’s overall digital strategy in conjunction with various operational heads, while also directly overseeing all of News Corp.’s standalone digital businesses. Prior to News Corporation, Jon was a founding partner of Velocity Interactive Group, an investment firm focusing on digital media and the consumer Internet space. Previously, Miller was Chairman and CEO of AOL, where he led the company to a record annual profit growth of 21 percent, and increased online advertising growth — the centerpiece of its new business model — by 46 percent in 2006.
Earlier in his career, Jon was CEO and President of USA Information and Services — now IACI and Expedia — and also served as Managing Director of Nickelodeon International, a unit of Viacom’s MTV Networks. From 1987-1993, Miller was Vice President, Programming and Co-General Manager of NBA Entertainment, where he was responsible for league-wide brand management and programming.
Miller is member of the Board of Directors of the American Film Institute, and serves on the Board of Trustees of Emerson College and WNYC Public Radio in New York. Jon resides in New York and holds a B.A. from Harvard College.
Andrew D. Siegel is the Senior Vice President, Strategy and Corporate Development of Advance Publications, Inc. Mr. Siegel has been Vice President of Corporate Development at Yahoo since 2009. He previously served as a senior M&A and Business Development executive at General Electric.
Dennis Kooker is President, Global Digital Business and U.S. Sales, Sony Music Entertainment. In this role, he leads Sony Music Entertainment’s digital business strategy and activities worldwide, as well as its sales and distribution division in the U.S.
He is responsible for working closely with the company’s key business partners as well as internal labels and divisions around the world to develop new revenue streams and grow Sony Music’s revenues across all digital and physical platforms. In addition, he oversees Sony Music’s U.S. Sales and Distribution team, Sony Music’s independent distribution company RED, and the company’s Direct to Consumer business. He also represents SME on the boards of a number of companies operating in the digital space.
Prior to taking his current position, Mr. Kooker was Executive Vice President, Operations and General Manager, Global Digital Business and U.S. Sales, leading the group’s day-to-day operations. Previously, he served as Executive Vice President, Operations for SONY BMG Music Entertainment’s Global Digital Business and U.S. Sales unit, which included leading physical sales and channel marketing.
Mr. Kooker also previously served as Senior Vice President of BMG North America, and before that, he held a number of London-based operational roles within the company’s UK & Ireland division. He began his career in the music industry in 1995.
Dan is the co-founder of Charming Robot, a product design company based in NYC. For the past twelve years, he has been helping startups and media companies shape their online product strategy, including Foursquare, Rent The Runway, Jetsetter and Savored. His experience also includes television, music and print media, and he has worked with Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Gawker, Saturday Night Live, Universal Music and The Wall Street Journal. One of his most noted projects was creating the original strategy and user experience for Hulu. Prior to Charming Robot, Dan co-founded the design agency Hard Candy Shell. Dan received his Master’s Degree from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and his Bachelor of Arts from Colby College in English and Performing Arts.
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Shake is an iOS app that gives users the ability to create and sign their own basic legal agreements using a simple guided interface. It offers a number of templates for different contracting needs, such as freelance/consulting work agreements, non-disclosure agreements, and personal loans. Select Co-Investors: Softbank Capital, RRE Ventures, BoxGroup.
Hopscotch is a programming platform for kids. With Hopscotch, kids drag and drop blocks of code on their iPad with zero typing, placing the focus on creating digital products rather than struggling with syntax. It’s like Legos for software: part tool, part toy, and part learning experience. Select Co-Investors: Resolute.vc, Collaborative Fund.
Moonfrye products are designed to inspire and celebrate creativity in families by bridging the gap between digital and real world creativity. Moonfrye is committed to bringing its users innovative and exciting ways to experience, create and share themed living. Select Co-Investors: Upfront Ventures, Greycroft, Google Ventures.
Ringly integrates wearable technology with beautifully designed, fashionable jewelry and accessories. Their mission is to improve the way people interact with technology and with each other. Ringly strongly believes technology can blend in to your environment and be both beautiful and useful. Select Co-Investors: First Round Capital, Andreessen Horowitz.
The Nativo platform enables publishers to easily activate, deploy and manage native ad placements across their media properties. For marketers, the Nativo platform enables the distribution of branded content with scale, control, and relevancy. The placement is in the content well of each publisher site and all perfectly matched to appear native on every site type and every device. Select Co-Investors: Greycroft, BDMI, eVentures.
InVenture unleashes the potential of developing entrepreneurs to lift themselves and their communities out of poverty by leveraging mobile technology to create credit scores for unbanked individuals globally. InVenture’s vision is to provide a standardized global credit score for anyone with a mobile phoneand revolutionize the financial services sector. Select Co-Investors: Lowercase Capital, Collaborative Fund, Google Ventures.
The Panjo marketplace delivers joy to auto, sport, and hobby enthusiasts by helping them discover, buy, and sell rare and high-quality goods. The Panjo marketplace increases security, reduces administrative overhead, eliminates hassle, and creates an aggregated collection of the world’s most desirable goods for enthusiasts. Select Co-Investors: Spark Capital, Lerer Ventures, BDMI.
Basno is a place where people create and collect digital badges people are proud to own. Badges for every accomplishment, skill, commitment and expertise – whether it’s finishing a marathon, speaking fluent Mandarin, shooting even par, or traveling the world. Select Co-Investors: Index Ventures, RRE Ventures.
Zillabyte helps sales and marketing teams model their ideal customers and find more of them. Through a combination of machine learning and rapid human-curation, Zillabyte builds algorithms and custom filters that allow business customers to identify high-potential sales leads and to analyze customers based on external data. Watch the three-minute demo video here. Select Co-Investors: Menlo Ventures, BOLDstart Ventures.
Plain Vanilla Games
Plain Vanilla was founded with the vision to design beautiful looking and user-centered games. The Company’s QuizUp is a fast paced casual match-up quiz platform for iOS, Android and Facebook users around the world. This social trivia platform allows Plain Vanilla to develop the best, most engaging games for consumers and brands. Select Co-Investors: Greycroft, BOLDstart Ventures.
BetterDoctor offers simple to use web and mobile apps that let you find the right doctor in minutes. Select what kind of doctor you are looking for, pick your insurance plan and see a list of verified better doctors near you. BetterDoctor team has spent months on collecting all the relevant information on each doctor so you don’t need to. Select Co-Investors: SoftTechVC, 500 Startups.
EasyPost allows you to integrate postage with any application in minutes instead of weeks. Get the best rates on your shipments. Compare prices and delivery times with USPS, Fedex, UPS, and more and purchase postage in one API call. Select Co-Investors: SV Angel, Crunchfund.
DJZ is an online hub for mainstream fans, gathering news, music, apps and videos for the electronic dance music sector. From new releases, shows, festivals, top news, apps and more, DJZ is giving you the all-access pass. Select Co-Investors: Index Ventures, True Ventures, Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers, Google Ventures.
Keychain Logistics is a leading transportation provider enabling businesses to directly engage carriers, track shipments, and monitor its logistics needs online. Keychain’s software is built to streamline the logistics brokerage process with technology forward solutions. Select Co-Investors: Andreessen Horowitz, Y Combinator, General Catalyst, SV Angel.
Bread was acquired in October 2013 by Yahoo! (NASDAQ: YHOO). Bread is the simplest monetization platform for social media, desktop and mobile publishers. The Company’s proprietary technology serves premium, rich media ads on links shared on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and other social media platforms. Select Co-Investors: Raptor Ventures, Troy Carter.
TripleLift offers a unique native advertising platform for the visual web. With the rise of the visual web, on platforms like Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Instagram, consumers are engaging with and sharing brand’s visual content more than ever before. TripleLift’s mission is to fundamentally transform advertising towards ads that cut through the clutter and capture consumers’ attention. Select Co-Investors: True Ventures, iNovia Capital.
Pickie is a tablet optimized social shopping magazine. Users sign up using Facebook and select product categories in which they are interested (clothes, books, home goods, gadgets, etc.) and browse product recommendations in Social Content, Trending Content, Editorial Content and Discover Content. Select Co-Investors: Betaworks, DFJ Gotham, BDMI, TechStars
Consumr is an unbiased, democratic platform for ratings and reviews of grocery and drugstore products. The Company’s mobile app lets you instantly see the opinions of people just like you. Consumr allows you to make informed decisions and express your opinions. Select Co-Investors: Lerer Ventures, IA Ventures
FitStar’s mission is to build a digital health and fitness platform to inspire people to live healthier lives. The Company provides users a robust slate of interactive apps to motivate people to live stronger, healthier lives. Select Co-Investors: Google Ventures, Advancit Capital, Floodgate, Founder Collective
Republic Project was acquired in October 2013 by MediaMind, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Digital Generation (NASDAQ: DGIT). Republic Project is a cloud-based platform that enables brands and agencies to quickly create complex, cross platform ad campaigns. Select Co-Investors: Google Ventures, Venture 51, 500 Startups.
Tuition.io is a revolutionary free tool for managing your student loans that lets you optimize your debt for your unique situation. The Company offers an automated on-boarding process to get students started, and then allows them to access all of their loans in one place and visualize debt via detailed charts and graphs, along with a comprehensive calendar of loan payment due dates. Select Co-Investors: Mohr Davidow Ventures, Launchpad LA
Grand St. is building a new kind of consumer electronics store. Every other day the team highlights and sells a new amazing product on their site that they’ve tested, held and played with. If you see it on Grand St., that means it’s truly awesome and the team stands by it. Select Co-Investors: First Round Capital, Betaworks, Box Group.
The democratizing effects of the Internet were first felt in the media world. The Internet changed how content was produced, distributed, and consumed. Professional ad supported content creation became a more difficult business to sustain as the barriers to entry were lowered, traditional monetization challenged, and audiences fragmented.
Today, we are generating more data than ever before. According to business intelligence firm DOMO, every minute 204,000 emails are sent, 2 million Google searches are performed, 100,000 tweets are tweeted, 684,478 pieces of content are shared on Facebook, and $272,000 of ecommerce transactions are executed. That is an incredible amount of data.
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